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CD Reviews: Paramore
Paramore: Riot!
March 2008
By: Linda Spielman
Album cover of Paramore's Riot!

There hasn't been a female fronted band with such charisma since No Doubt in the early 1990s. Paramore is redefining powerful, meaningful and unabashedly "balls to the wall" rock music. The quartet from Tennessee have the ingredients for success: amazing hooks, a strong stage presence and a new album, Riot!, released in June 2007 on Fueled By Ramen that is well worth more than one listen. With the uber-popular Misery Business tearing through MTV video rotations and radio airplay, Paramore have positioned themselves as one of the major "must sees" on the 2008 Warped Tour as well as on their tour opening for John Mayer on selected dates.

Riot! is a fusion of riff and emotion. One aimless night while channel surfing I stumbled upon Paramore live at the Hard Rock. I put the remote down, feeling very jaded by what I sometimes experience with my new favorite bands: the disappointment of lack of authenticity of the performance. But, vocalist Hayley Williams blew me away. Rarely does anyone want to hear the exact same version of the CD at a live show. However, one does hope that a group's live performance enhances what the CD has showcased. Paramore have live stage presence and musical strength far beyond their Generation Y years. Williams has a voice that is as strong, clear and melodic as it is on the CD. And, she knows how to work a crowd. The other band members which include Jeremy Davis on bass, Josh Farro on guitar and Zac Farro on drums seem to read each others minds while on stage, knowing exactly how and when to improvise and add that extra punch to each of the songs. It almost appears effortless on all of their parts.

Riot! is strong and bold from beginning to end as it mixes angst and revelry like a tsunami of emotions. While it was Misery Business that put Paramore on the map, but follow up releases CrushCrushCrush and That's What You Get show the band's lyrical backbone. Other stand-out tracks are Miracle and For a Pessimist, I'm Pretty Optimistic. Both are realistic in how they verbalize what we expect from people and from ourselves, how those expectations can be shattered and most importantly, how attainable dreams really are.